Chivas USA’s Sacha Kljestan may not have the nickname, but he has the moves.
Kljestan scored a hat trick Saturday night at Home Depot Center – the first three goals he has ever scored for the national team; he become the first player to achieve that feat since Aldo “Buff” Donelli in 1934.
Donelli apparently went on to coach the Pittsburgh Steelers, BTW, something Kljestan is unlikely to duplicate.
No matter, Kljestan’s 75th minute third came courtesy of a clever Brian Ching move, who deftly brought down a long pass from Danny Califf, controlled it and slid it over to Kljestan for the third and final goal in the 3-2 win.
The scoreline was flattering to the Swedes, who scored twice in the last 16 minutes.
Sweden threatened more in the second half than in the opening 45 minutes, but save for Jonathan Bornstein getting beaten on the first goal the U.S. back four was largely flawless.
Troy Perkins should have done better on the second goal, failing to get down quick enough to prevent the ball rebounding off the post directly into the net.
Former Galaxy defender Ugo Ihemelu, a late sub for Michael Parkhurst, cleared a likely Swedish equalizer off the line three minutes from the end of regulation.
Robbie Rogers had a fairly quiet night on his national team debut.